Consumers make momentous contribution to future dementia policy

For Mike Bryan the opportunity to participate in discussions around future funding, public policy and decisions around dementia care at the Dementia Australia National Dementia Summit was of momentous importance.

Mike and Linda Bryan

“It’s about improving the future situation for people who have been diagnosed with dementia,” Mike said.

Diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s disease three years ago at the age of 62, Mike and his wife Linda, were among a strong delegation of almost 70 people living with dementia and their care partners from across Australia who attended the Summit at Parliament House in Canberra in March.

“It is important for consumers like me to be included in this Summit because I want the general public to be aware that, even with a diagnosis of dementia, I have an important - probably the most important - contribution to make to discussions around the funding for dementia and the way in which we are supported by the government and the community,” Mike said.

Mike and Linda presented the Communique from the two-day Summit to Politicians at Parliament House.

The Communique, which included consumer contributions, calls for a National Dementia Strategy with measurable outcomes and builds on the National Framework for Action on Dementia 2015-2016 and address the following action priorities:

  • Promote greater awareness and risk reduction
  • Tackle stigma and discrimination associated with dementia and support social inclusion and participation
  • Improve access to timely diagnosis and high-quality health care
  • Provide care and support in the community that promotes independence, social engagement and effective support for informal caregivers
  • Ensure access to high-quality residential care and publicly available information about consumer experience and quality of care 
  • Improve end of life care and support for people with dementia
  • The implementation of Consumer Directed Care for people with dementia and their carers
  • A commitment to increase investment in dementia research

Linda said it was critical consumers, the stakeholders, were drivers of future policy and funding around dementia.

“I am pleased to be in a forum in which I have a real say in the issues that confront me as a carer,” Linda said.

“My hope is that the recommendations from this Summit will result in a workable and fully-funded model for dementia care that is truly consumer-directed.”

Dementia Australia National President Professor Graeme Samuel AC thanked consumers for attending and articulating a vision for dementia in Australia on behalf of the 353,800 Australians living with the condition.

“It is important we take the unanimous voice of our consumers to the policy makers who influence legislation to improve the quality of life for all those living with dementia and their families and carers,” Professor Samuel said.

Access the full Dementia Australia National Consumer Summit Communique 2016